Every business needs contacts. One of the most effective ways of making new connections is by engaging with other businesses in your area.
There are many organisations and groups that have been set up specifically for business networking. Whether for business breakfasts, executive elevenses or leadership lunches, keep these top tips in mind to get the most from your networking activities!
1. Your nametag goes on your right side.
2. Do your homework prior to attending an event. Google attendees or find them on LinkedIn to see photos and to learn a bit more about them.
3. Think about what you have in common with people and strike up a conversation!
4. Try not to approach two people in conversation. It’s best to approach groups of three or more. This way you’ll be less of an interruption and feel more welcomed.
5. Say the other person’s name two or three times during the conversation. This way you won’t forget it, and it shows that you are actively engaged.
6. Make eye contact, but don’t make it a staring contest.
7. Keep business cards in an outside suit coat or purse pocket. They’ll be easy to access and you won’t be handing out a crinkled card that came out of your pants pocket.
8. Write notes on the back of business cards you receive. When you leave the event, you don’t want to be asking yourself, “Who was that person again?”
9. No food and drink at the same time. Keep one hand free to shake hands!
10. Read newspapers, books, movie reviews. It’s good to have things to discuss that are not necessarily career-related.
11. It’s OK to “prepare” small talk. What are your go-to topics?
12. Don’t be a dead fish. Have a firm hand shake.
13. Ask questions of the other person that show you are paying attention.
14. Remember your “elevator pitch” and practice it. Your elevator pitch is the short description of yourself and what you do. You might use it if you had only a few minutes in the elevator with the CEO of your dream company.
15. How do you get away? Remember: It’s OK to use colleagues/food/restroom as excuses of escape!
16. Finally, say thank you when leaving a conversation. Consider following up particularly helpful conversations with a personalised LinkedIn request.
Member since: 10th July 2012
Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.